Wednesday, December 26, 2018

The stormy Christmas

A post shared by arthur_amerinz (@arthur_amerinz) on

Our Christmas this year was wet and stormy, which was a little different than we’ve had in recent years. We still had a brilliant time, but it was definitely wet. And stormy.

The Instagram photo above is of the surface flooding in front of our house around 10am on Christmas Eve, just as we were getting ready to leave to stay with family members for Christmas. The flooding wasn’t as bad as back in August, but it was also only the start. It had been raining all night, and much of that was hard rain. The rest was just pretty steady. That continued in the morning as we got ready to leave. And it didn’t stop all day.

An hour or so after we left, a car hit a power pole on the road we drive along, blocking the road. There’s an alternative route that’s longer, so we were lucky we’d left so much earlier. That accident was probably a good indicator of the mayhem to come.

At the time that car hit that pole, we were moving slowly along the motorway, held up by heavy rain and our abundance of caution. As Nigel put it, we weren’t in a hurry to get there, and we’d rather actually get there.

Once we got to Hamilton, the rains continued virtually without interruption the entire day and evening. The next day—Christmas Day—had long dry spells, and even a bit of sun, but everything was pretty damp, and the air was humid.

Back home, there were multiple lightening strikes in the larger district that cut the power all over the place, including at our house. That was bad timing, to say the least. As the local power company put it on Facebook:
Merry Christmas everyone! We've got multiple outages around the district due to lightning strikes. Our crews are working as quickly and safely as they can to restore power so you can enjoy your Christmas dinner. We can't send crews up the poles while there is lightning around but we are on the job and working to get the power flowing.
Just a reminder to stay well clear of any downed lines and to always treat all lines as live.
Stay safe out there.
We knew about the loss of power because Nigel gets an alert on his phone when there’s a power outage and our computer server has to re-start. Since we weren’t home at the time, and apart from clocks showing the wrong time when we did get home, it wasn’t a big deal for us.

The trip home today was largely uneventful, though we saw surface flooding everywhere. The skies were overcast, but it didn’t rain. But every time we passed shopping area, there were traffic queues.

Boxing Day is New Zealand’s biggest shopping day (roughly equivalent in that respect to Black Friday in the USA). Apparently, people arrived at Sylvia Park, currently New Zealand’s largest shopping mall, at 7:30am to get a car park, and by 8:30 the carparks were “nearly full”.

Then when we got home we saw that the wind had blown some of the trellis at the top of our fence (photo below) into our yard (and yes, I know there are weeds around that rock…). Our neighbour told us a couple of the plants in her garden were knocked over, too. We wondered if there had been a mini-tornado, since we’ve had very strong winds before and that trellis remained intact, and because the trellis appears to be wrapped around itself. We’ll never know the answer, and it doesn’t matter: We just have to fix it.

Despite the weather challenges, we had a really good Christmas, a bit smaller gathering than usual with family members celebrating with their respective parts of the family. But the food and company were awesome, as always, and being together is really the entire point.

Now we’re getting ready to celebrate New Year’s next week—and when I saw “we” I actually mean me, because Nigel and his mum don’t usually stay up until midnight. I always do, of course. But that’s next week.

Right now, this week, we’re back home after an awesome Christmas. I hope yours was awesome, too.

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